A breach of duty at two important institutions


In the moral panic that arose in response to Tom Flanagan’s comments on child pornography last week, most of those who rushed to join the lynch mob were guilty of self-righteousness abetted by misrepresentation. CBC New executive Jennifer McGuire and University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon, however, deserve special mention for their failure to uphold the responsibility their instituions have for protecting controversial speech. Both had a duty to uphold a core principle of their organizations, and they weren’t up to the task.

The nanny state runs amok

In a fit of foolishness, Elections Canada has decreed that returns from today’s Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley byelection cannot be disseminated until after the polls close—in British Columbia.

In a general election, this silly provision serves to assuage the patronizing concern that voters in western time zones might either (pick one):

  • be annoyed that the winning party had been decided before they cast their vote; or
  • be shrewd enough to use the results in eastern Canada to guide their strategic voting decisions.

Heaven forefend. On a day with four byelections scattered across our vast country, it serves no purpose whatever, save perhaps to bolster Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand’s puffed-up sense of his own importance. This is a man who has forgotten who he’s working for.

Polls in the Nova Scotia byelection close at 8:30 p.m., but we will have to wait two-and-a-half hours before our betters will let us in on the secret of who the electors of Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley have chosen .

[Update] Contrarian reader Derek Andrews demurs:

What’s the rush? I never did understand this. In a general election at least, it just creates a sports-like event ripe for the tv networks to sell some advertising. Is that what democracy is about?